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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Russia thinks Ukraine will attack with 50,000 Kamikaze drones

Mar 27, 2023

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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A military blogger in Russia said Ukraine is preparing to launch a fleet of armed drones numbering in the tens of thousands. The fleet is mostly made up of smaller racing drones and could overwhelm Russia’s air defenses.

https://twitter.com/PaulJawin/status/1619695661997514753

Russian social media is flooded with posts about the impending Ukrainian aerial attack, according to Forbes. The pro-Russian military blogger, the Russian Engineer, posted about the rumored attack on Telegram. That post currently has about 2 million views.

In 2022, Ukraine started outfitting small but powerful first-person view (FPV) drones with warheads from RPGs. The FPV drones are designed for racing. They are highly maneuverable, but powerful enough to carry explosive devices. When used in concert with loitering drones, the Ukrainians are dealing death and destruction to the Russians at 100 miles per hour.

In addition to larger military-grade drones, both Russia and Ukraine have used modified, commercially available components in their drones during the war. Ukraine has a bit of an edge since the country isn’t dealing with crippling Western sanctions.

https://twitter.com/PaulJawin/status/1621913812759633921?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1621913812759633921%7Ctwgr%5Efab4efc1d7ac3557cc9c9d9a090b4bddffe2d373%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fembedly.forbes.com%2Fwidgets%2Fmedia.html%3Ftype%3Dtext2Fhtmlkey%3D3ce26dc7e3454db5820ba084d28b4935schema%3Dtwitterurl%3Dhttps3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fpauljawin%2Fstatus%2F16219138127596339213Fs3D5126t3Da7JSCV8X9ZenZ8fmKPRKDgimage%3Dhttps3A%2F%2Fi.embed.ly%2F1%2Fimage3Furl3Dhttps253A252F252Fabs.twimg.com252Ferrors252Flogo46x38.png26key3D3ce26dc7e3454db5820ba084d28b4935

Commercial drones are also cheaper. The FPVs Ukraine is outfitting cost a few hundred dollars. The Russian Engineer posted the Ukrainian Armed Forces bought every FPV drone component China had on the market. It’s enough to field between 50,000 and 100,000 units.

All those FPV drones are likely being outfitted with some form of munition and will be deployed by one of Ukraine’s new drone assault companies formed in January. But all 50,000 drones won’t fly at once. Based on current specs, each FPV drone requires a pilot to operate it. Also, limitations on the number of control channels will likewise limit the number of drones in each attacking wave.

But the Russians are clearly worried about the potential onslaught of 50,000 to 100,000 armed attack drones. On March 22, the Russian defense minister announced the deployment of several new air defense units in the Russian military. Russia may even be delaying delivery of some foreign purchases to bolster its own air defenses.

However, confidence in those systems is waning. The Russians already failed to stop several suspected Ukrainian drones from hitting targets deep behind Russian lines.

The most obvious defense against drones is signal jamming, another area where Russia has struggled. According to the Russian Engineer, frontline fighters said shotguns may be the best defense against the fast-moving FPVs, but that would definitely be a last option.

Hitting a drone moving 100 miles per hour with a shotgun requires some advanced marksmanship. While there are many videos of FPV drones hitting their targets, there are no videos of a soldier shooting one down with a shotgun.

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ACCORDING TO A RUSSIAN MILITARY BLOGGER, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES ARE PREPARING TO LAUNCH A FLEET OF DRONES NUMBERING IN THE TENS OF THOUSANDS. THE FLEET IS MOSTLY MADE UP OF SMALLER RACING DRONES AND COULD OVERWHELM RUSSIA’S AIR DEFENSES.

RUSSIAN SOCIAL MEDIA IS FLOODED WITH POSTS ABOUT THE IMPENDING UKRAINIAN AERIAL ATTACK. ONE PRO-RUSSIAN MILITARY BLOGGER NAMED THE RUSSIAN ENGINEER POSTED ABOUT THE RUMORED ATTACK ON TELEGRAM. THAT POST CURRENTLY HAS ABOUT 2 MILLION VIEWS.

LAST YEAR, UKRAINE STARTED OUTFITTING SMALL BUT POWERFUL FIRST-PERSON VIEW DRONES WITH WARHEADS FROM RPGs. THE FPV DRONES ARE DESIGNED FOR RACING. THEY’RE HIGHLY MANEUVERABLE BUT POWERFUL ENOUGH TO CARRY EXPLOSIVE DEVICES. WHEN USED IN CONCERT WITH LOITERING DRONES, THE UKRAINIANS ARE DEALING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION TO THE RUSSIANS AT 100 MILES PER HOUR.

IN ADDITION TO LARGER MILITARY-GRADE DRONES, BOTH RUSSIA AND UKRAINE HAVE USED MODIFIED, COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE COMPONENTS IN THEIR DRONES DURING THE WAR. UKRAINE HAS A BIT OF AN EDGE, THOUGH, SINCE THE COUNTRY ISN’T DEALING WITH CRIPPLING WESTERN SANCTIONS.

COMMERCIAL DRONES ARE ALSO CHEAPER. THE FPV’S UKRAINE IS OUTFITTING COST A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS. THE RUSSIAN ENGINEER POSTED THE UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES BOUGHT EVERY FPV DRONE COMPONENT CHINA HAD ON THE MARKET. IT’S ENOUGH TO FIELD BETWEEN 50 AND 100 THOUSAND UNITS.

ALL THOSE FPV DRONES ARE LIKELY BEING OUTFITTED WITH SOME FORM OF MUNITION AND WILL BE DEPLOYED BY ONE OF UKRAINE’S NEW DRONE ASSAULT COMPANIES FORMED IN JANUARY. BUT ALL 50,000 DRONES WON’T FLY AT ONCE. BASED ON CURRENT SPECS, EACH FPV DRONE REQUIRES A PILOT TO OPERATE IT. AND LIMITATIONS ON THE NUMBER OF CONTROL CHANNELS WOULD LIKEWISE LIMIT THE NUMBER OF DRONES IN EACH ATTACKING WAVE.

BUT THE RUSSIANS ARE CLEARLY WORRIED ABOUT THE POTENTIAL ONSLAUGHT OF 50 TO 100 THOUSAND ARMED ATTACK DRONES. ON MARCH 22ND, THE RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ANNOUNCED THE DEPLOYMENT OF SEVERAL NEW AIR DEFENSE UNITS IN THE RUSSIAN MILITARY. RUSSIA MAY EVEN BE DELAYING DELIVERY OF SOME FOREIGN PURCHASES IN ORDER TO BOLSTER ITS OWN AIR DEFENSES.

HOWEVER, CONFIDENCE IN THOSE SYSTEMS IS WANING. THE RUSSIANS ALREADY FAILED TO STOP SEVERAL SUSPECTED UKRAINIAN DRONES FROM HITTING TARGETS DEEP BEHIND RUSSIAN LINES.

THE MOST OBVIOUS DEFENSE AGAINST DRONES IS SIGNAL JAMMING, ANOTHER AREA WHERE RUSSIA HAS STRUGGLED. ACCORDING TO THE RUSSIAN ENGINEER, FRONTLINE FIGHTERS SAY SHOTGUNS MAY BE THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST THE FAST-MOVING FPVs, BUT THAT WOULD DEFINITELY BE A LAST OPTION.

HITTING A DRONE MOVING 100 MILES PER HOUR WITH A SHOTGUN REQUIRES SOME FAIRLY ADVANCED MARKSMANSHIP. KEEP IN MIND WHILE THERE ARE MANY VIDEOS OF FPV DRONES HITTING THEIR TARGETS, THERE ARE NO VIDEOS OF A SOLDIER SHOOTING ONE DOWN WITH A SHOTGUN.

WE HAVE PLENTY MORE REPORTING ABOUT THE WAR IN UKRAINE. YOU CAN FIND THE UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACT REPORTING AT STRAIGHT  ARROW NEWS DOT COM.